Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tips for Importing from PowerPoint to Captivate

by Jonathan Shoaf

Microsoft PowerPoint is a very powerful tool for creating presentations. At most organizations it also has a large user base. This means that a lot of content is developed in PowerPoint.

There are times when you may want to reuse content created in PowerPoint in e-learning. Adobe Captivate does a great job of integrating with PowerPoint and converting slides to an e-learning format. Captivate can bring in backgrounds, text, images, and even animations and timings.

Getting started is easy. Just open Captivate and choose to create a new project from Microsoft PowerPoint.

Captivate takes a moment to analyze the file and then presents you with several options. Honestly, you could probably just accept the defaults and go on your way. However, you will want to take a closer look to make sure the project behaves appropriately once it is imported.

Project Properties

The project properties are pretty basic.  Here you can set the name of the project file in Captivate and you can set a width and a height. If you decide to change the width and the height, you will want to strongly consider maintaining the aspect ratio. Maintaining the aspect ratio will make sure all the fonts and graphics are resized accurately if you increase or decrease the size of the project.

Select Slides

In this section you can select which slides to import. In many cases you will want to select all. However, there are just as many situations where you may only want to pull one or two slides out of an existing presentation. For example, you may want to pull in one or two informative graphics from the face-to-face version of the course. Another example, you may have asked a subject matter expert to put together a graphic or animation to use in the course. As is quite common, they may be familiar with PowerPoint but not have Captivate installed.

Slide Advance Method

The last thing you will want to do before starting the import process is select a method for advancing slides once they are in Captivate. There are two choices here: on mouse click and automatic. On mouse click will make the slides behave similar to a PowerPoint presentation. The learner will need to click on each slide to advance it.  Behind the scenes Captivate is just putting a large click box on each slide. Automatic will advance to the next slide after the default time period for each slide has passed. The default for this is 3 seconds but it could be longer if the slide contains an animation.

Notice also there is a check box for Linked. Checking this will tell Captivate that you want to keep the PowerPoint project tied to this Captivate project. This is useful when you update the PowerPoint project and want Captivate to update also. To do this select update when right-clicking on the PowerPoint presentation in the project library.

When you have all the settings, click Ok to import the project.

Editing the Slide in PowerPoint after Importing

Once the importing is complete you can still edit a slide in PowerPoint. Do this by right clicking on the slide and selecting Edit with Microsoft PowerPoint. This will launch the PowerPoint editor allowing you to edit the slide. When you are finished, the slide will automatically be updated in Captivate.

Following these tips is the first step to becoming proficient when using PowerPoint to create Captivate content. Do you have any tips to share?

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